Wednesday, October 19, 2016

The Moms Who Have Gone Ahead

When I was hugely pregnant with my fourth baby and had a 4 year old, 3 year old and 1 year old running around, I remember thinking "How do moms of big families do it?"  It wasn't just a general pondering, I wanted specifics.  I needed specifics.  I found out there was a family with 6 kids nearby (hi Michelle!) and I remember telling Phil that I just wanted to go sit in her house to see how she handles it all.  Not creepy at all since I didn't even know her back then ;)  Now we're the best of friends and she has 8 children under her roof plus takes care of my two youngest while I work.  Amazing.

Like, how do you take a nice Christmas card photo?
But where was I?  Oh yes, I wanted a glimpse into the secrets of parenthood, perhaps just some hope that these days wouldn't kill me and I wouldn't regret being open to life?  I wanted to walk side by side with moms who were in the same state of life so we could help each other and give each other tips and keep each other sane.  And then, Phil bought me this book for Christmas and I discovered mommy blogs.  Into my world came the likes of Danielle Bean, Rachel Balducci, Sarah Turner, Leila Lawler, and many others who don't even blog anymore.  These moms were so inspiring to me and so practically helpful with the day to day stuff.  I remember one blogger who wrote that when she feeds her kids waffles, she piles up a few waffles together and then cuts them into bite size pieces instead of cutting each one individually.  Little things like that I hadn't yet thought of as a young mom and helped me in the moment.  It not only helped me cut the waffles faster, but it reminded me that other moms were doing these same tasks for their children all over the world.  As lonely as it can feel being a mom, it was a nice reminder that there are millions of us doing the same work.

Where am I going with all of this?  I don't really know except to say that blogging/social media used to be such a great place to lift me up in my vocation.  But now, I don't know.  It seems like the blogging world is growing smaller, with more people (myself included) spending time on other platforms or only writing for the paycheck.  I miss posts about day to day life from my blogging buddies: Dwija and Cari and Lisa and Sarah and Aimee and Aubrey.  I think the combination of our children getting older and losing the freedom to write all about the babies they used to be is a big factor.  Also, there are always younger, newer, cooler, fresh bloggers out there that can make us older classically trained bloggers feel antiquated.  Seriously how do they raise children in designer clothes and have gorgeous homes with DIY decor?  Good for them, but sometimes it leaves me feeling left out and let down (my own problem, I know).

But it's exactly the moms of older kids, who have walked the path with me or are just slightly ahead to warn me of any falling rocks, whose ideas and opinions I want to read about.  Don't get me wrong, I will always love the mommy bloggers of babies and toddlers, as I'm still in those trenches myself!  But I can't read a post from a mom of babies who claims to know the without chuckling.  Maybe that's precisely another reason why moms of older kids don't blog much - because we realize after all these years of parenting all these different personalities that we don't know ANYTHING AT ALL :)

Seriously kids, I'm just winging it.

I realize I'm just questioning where all the older mommy bloggers are without helping with the solution.  Maybe this post is enough to get my own behind in gear to start writing like I used to, back when nobody knew I existed and I could pretty much say whatever I wanted without fear of anyone actually reading it!  Sadly, I don't think I can write that freely anymore, since I have to take into account that my bigger kids know I have a blog and Phil's students have discovered it.  I feel like an old lady wishing for days gone by and not wanting to give in to the notion that the blogging heyday may have come and gone.

Friday, October 14, 2016

7QT: 12, 8, 36

Hello and TGIF!  Why I can't seem to blog unless Kelly has a linkup, I'll never know.  Blogging FOMO I guess!


Andrew turned TWELVE!  My second baby will be a teenager next year.  Excuse me while I mop the puddle of myself up off the floor.

Ok, I'm back, but still weepy, because look at this cutie patootie!  Can I just freeze him and his handsome little face?  Please?

Andrew wanted a Fitbit for his birthday, but I looked at the prices and didn't think a 12 year old who plays three different sports (and would constantly have to take it off for each game) would be able to keep it in his possession.  So the much more affordable Garman Vivofit it was!  He was thrilled!  In fact, Eamon used his birthday money to buy one for himself and they compete with each other every day to see who gets the most steps.  They totally put shame in my step game, no wonder they're so thin!

On his birthday, after track practice and soccer practice, we celebrated with ice cream sundaes and some cousins.  Andrew loves to be celebrated (unlike some of my other shyer kids) and we had already had a birthday cake for him a few days before at Brendan's Baptism party (because that's where all the people were) hence the easy sundae choice :)

Being the sports nut that he is, all his gifts were sports related...

He got "slides" which Phil and I remember being big when we were in high school, but we called them "sandals".  My my, how times change.

He also got an Under Armour sports bag.  He loves it so much that he doesn't want to use it and get it dirty.  Ha!

And of course, a Dude Perfect shirt because obsessed is his current state.  He's also getting this book once it's released.

We love you Andrew with the funny middle name!

2)  My babiest of babies is 8 weeks old today!  He enjoys nursing, pooping, burping, sleeping, and keeping his parents up at night.  Hey when you've got 6 siblings, when else are you gonna get some quality parent time?

His smiles are a nice addition to his otherwise stunned or crying faces.  It was touch and go there for a while, but we decided we'll keep him ;)


Phil turned 36 this week!  We went out to dinner at a local bar and took BB with us, cause he loves to get tipsy on milksy.  I always feel like Phil gets the lamest birthdays because it's the third birthday in our family within two weeks.  And we added a Baptism in that time period this year! I did bake him a lemon cake and gave him one gift, and he got one from his parents too.   Thank goodness being showered in gifts is not this guy's receptive love language!!  Can you guess which love language he prefers?

He's holding his Thanksgiving gift ;)

The kids did make him cards!


My friend sent me this as a possible Halloween costume this year.  So easy and clever!


Phil's sister who is a Sister came to visit us all the way from Texas.  She got to meet her newest nephew and spend time with her goddaughter, whom she lavished in jewelry :)

Declan decided to streak in honor of her visit, just to make her feel more at home.


2005 with only two kids!

We have totally skipped apple picking this year, which makes it the first time ever that I can remember since having kids.  What a sin to live in beautiful New England and not go apple picking.  Maybe there will be some pumpkins left somewhere this weekend if we can find time to squeeze it in amongst the 6 soccer games, two variety show rehearsals, and a funeral!  Eeek!


Fabletics leggings and Saucony shoes - love both!

Let's talk baby weight.  Not Brendan's weight, but the weight he left behind.  Due to the gestational diabetes, I was dieting for his pregnancy and only gained 14 pounds total.  A week after he was born, I was back to my pre-pregnancy weight (not my goal weight, but what I weighed when I got pregnant).  However, as soon as he was born, I started eating all the carbs and sugars I had been restricting, and now have gained weight.  This needs to go.  It's not really baby weight, it's just weight, and I'm not making healthy choices.  Plus, I would like to be able to wear my clothes again.  I have a physical coming up in less than a month, and I would like to have lost at least 5 pounds by then.  I've been running again during kids' soccer practices which feels so good, and I've started eating healthier (modified THM diet) and not devouring chocolate and chips at night.  

New evening activity: Running not eating :)

If anyone has any tips on trying to lose weight without affecting milk supply, I would love to hear them!

Have a happy Soccer Playing, Pumpkin Picking, Football Watching kind of weekend everybody!

Sunday, October 2, 2016

The Baptism of Brendan Joseph

Oh baptisms, you get me every time.  That part when, as parents, you promise to raise your child in the faith, is such a beautiful yet daunting task!  After weeks of newborn sleep deprivation and dirty diapers and countless feedings ~ it snaps me right back to what's important.  This is not our child but a child of God's and we are just blessed to try and get him back to Him.  

Phil's parents and two of his sisters were able to come up from Maryland to celebrate with us, and Phil's dad is very handily a Deacon who administered the sacrament to our 7th baby, Brendan Joseph. 


Our three eldest served at the Mass and then again at the Baptism following.  What a gift.

Deacon Gramps was a champ through the whole thing even while a mischievous Declan ran around the church, unable to be tamed.  Oh, two year olds, they can humble the most prideful of mothers :)

It cracks me up that Brendan's moment of Baptism is being blocked by Alexander's big head.  Such is the life of the seventh child, I suppose!

TOTALLY NOT THEOLOGICAL, but I loved that flyaway cardigan I was wearing.  So flowy, so flattering, so forgiving.  The 3 F's of fashion after children.  I went back and got another one.  OK, back to the sacrament at hand...

Brendan's godparents were so cute and lit the Baptismal candle together.  They are not married so it made me laugh because it looked romantical.  That's my brother-in-law, Bill and our "god-daughter" Haley.

Deacon Gramps blessed both myself and Phil as part of the Baptism, and seeing Phil's dad bless his son and his grandson always makes me tear up.  Good thing you can't see me face ;)

And that was a wrap!  Welcome to the Catholic Church Brendan Joseph Martin!  You've got a crazy family that adores you and godparents that are amazing, so you can only go up from here!

Paternal grandparents

Maternal grandparents

Then we all headed over to the school cafeteria to paaaaartaaaay:

Lots of family, friends, and food.  The 3 F's of partying.


 There was even an Irish step performance :)

I'm so so so grateful for all the gifts in my life, and there's nothing like the grace of a sacrament to remind me of that.

Friday, September 30, 2016

7QT: Last day of September

It's Friday!  Here we goooo with Kelly and crew...


My littlest man is 6 weeks old today!  What?!?!?!  He enjoys dining with mom, long walks with mom, burping with mom, and naps in the bassinet (you thought I was going to say with mom, didn't ya?).  We try to raise independent sleepers in this house :)

And he smiles! We love him so.


For Eamon's Double Digit birthday, Phil took him and "the chosen few" to a trampoline park.  I stayed home with Maggie (she had a soccer game), Declan and Brendan and got lunch ready for their return.

The sun's in their eyes, but white background, soooo you win some, you lose some.

They had a blast!  Phil took lots of blurry videos of the fun, but nothing with quality good enough to repost ( and y'all know my quality standards are already extraordinarily low).  When they came home, they made their own pizzas:

Opened presents:

Eamon got an Amazon gift card, a Blitz ball, and that tshirt he says he's gonna wear A LOT :)

And made some wishes on a chocolate oreo cake.  

Then we sent them outside to burn off some of that sugar.  


On his actual birthday, I asked him how it felt to be TEN before he went off to school, and he said, "Well I'm not ten yet".  He was born at 6:30 am, and it was 6:20 am.  Such a perfectionist!  For dinner I made him spaghetti and meatballs and we ate the other half of the cake pictured above. 

He got some more presents, including dollah dollah bills y'all (from Gammy and Grandpa, always the perfect gift!), soccer sandals, a Powerade water bottle (their requests always make me laugh) and a Dude Perfect tshirt (I didn't know what Dude Perfect was, but they do pretty cool sports stunts on YouTube, look them up!).  He didn't think he was getting any presents from us because the party was his present, but when your shy, sweet, holy son only asks to invite 2 friends for his "big friend birthday party", you can't help but want to spoil him rotten.  He's a keeper, that one.

This little dude is pretty perfect, such a wonderful son, always smiling and eager to please, and he's still gung-ho about becoming a priest.  He is loving soccer season right now.  Because of his fall birthday, he plays for a U12 team, and looks so tiny on the field!  But he's got skills, and begs to go to the big boys' U15 practices, so he ends up at four 1.5 hour practices every week.  No wonder he's so skinny!


Thank you for your advice on the high cholesterol results I got back.  I never knew pregnancy/nursing could raise cholesterol, and I am going to my OB this afternoon for my 6 week checkup so I can talk about it more with him.  Besides, my morning oatmeal has been delicious, and I've added fish oil to my life.  So even if it's not dangerously high for too long, I'm hoping to get my normal levels lower.  Genetics are a bummer.


In hopes of not losing the rest of my thin hair, I have started taking this collagen.  Even if it can't help my hopeless mop, it has 11 grams of protein in a 2 TBS serving, so I just throw some in my oatmeal and start the day off right!  I always try to have a healthy and filling breakfast because who knows what the rest of the day will bring!  Usually chips and chocolate.  


Inspired by Ana, I dusted off my 30 Day Shred DVD and have been working out with J and the girls.  I actually did 9 consecutive days at Level 1 and then couldn't fit in the tenth day.  Urgh.  You're supposed to do each of the three levels for ten days, but I'll just start up again today with Level 2 and hope I survive.  Once I memorize the routine, I just do it while I watch tv and time myself on my phone.  It's much faster that way (done in 18 minutes - no talking or downtime in between moves) and more flexible.  


Look how beautiful our fish tank looks!

I took out the fish, then everything else out of the tank (threw away the plants) and scrubbed it, refilled it, added a turtle (hi Myrtle!) and a tree, changed the filter, and voila!  Let's see how long it lasts :)

And now I'm off to continue baking for this weekend.  So far I have one of the Baptism cakes and four chocolate chip pumpkin breads completed.  Only two more cakes and four dozen cookies to go!

It smells like heaven in here!  Have a wonderful baking, football watching OCTOBER weekend everybody!